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Dismissed: Mishcon de Reya defeats former QPR owner’s £5m professional negligence suit

The high-profile professional negligence dispute taken against Mishcon de Reya by former Queens Park Rangers chairman Antonio Caliendo has been dismissed by London’s High Court.

The dispute arose over a £5.5m sale agreement of Queens Park Rangers (QPR) shares by Caliendo to Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Italian businessman Flavio Briatore in 2007, an agreement that was executed by former Mishcon de Reya partner Kevin Steele on behalf of Caliendo.

The allegation was that the terms of the documents entered into for the transaction differed materially from terms which Caliendo instructed Mishcon to implement. The claim also said the documents failed to provide for payment of a further £2m to Caliendo in the event QPR was promoted to the Premier League within five years (which actually happened); and that the documents failed to provide for payment by the purchasers of over £1m of debt.

Heard throughout December 2015, the decision in the case was handed down today (4 February).

Justice Arnold said: ‘I conclude that the claimants’ expenditure on the defence of the QPRH Proceedings was not caused by any breach of duty on the part of Mishcon de Reya… I conclude that the breaches of duty complained of did not in any event cause the claimants any loss.’

Counsel for Mishcon de Reya submitted that Caliendo was not a truthful witness, relying upon no less than 24 examples of what was contended to be false evidence. The judge assessed that Caliendo was not a witness on whose evidence he could safely rely, stating in his judgment the case ‘involved arguments of legal ingenuity but no merit.’

Wilberforce Chambers’ Alan Gourgey QC, and 4 New Square’s Katie Powell were instructed by DLA Piper for the Caliendo and his interests while Wilberforce Chambers’ trio Ian Croxford QC, Clare Stanley QC and Jonathan Chew were instructed by Robin Simon for Mischon.

The case is the second Mishcon has successfully fought in the last year. In February 2015, the firm faced a separate $3.7m claim over allegations it dishonestly assisted a ‘crook’ client who used money meant to refinance a hotel resort in Orlando on a playboy lifestyle, including a £170,000 Maybach car and a £33,000 diamond bracelet. That claim was dismissed at the High Court.